The Dance of Acceptance

Here I go again; the dance of acceptance. I have a pattern of every so often “forgetting” that I live with PTSD. I’m not sure if it’s mental gymnastics that I perform with gold medal perfection, or that it’s normal when living with a chronic illness to experience fluidity of acceptance.

I deal with and know how to ride the waves of triggers, and day-to-day symptoms; that is part of my everyday life. I manage that as I manage my household chores.  It isn’t until I come face-to-face in a serious way with something I would like to do, but I’m unable to do because of my current abilities, that I remember that it’s because I have PTSD.

Recently I had to revisit my vocational abilities. That was extremely disappointing. I was the only one surprised by the same results. My family and friends watched me go through the stress inducing exercise knowing what the result would be, but they understood why I felt I had to go through it once again.   I would like to say that now I fully accept what my limitations are,  but I can’t be sure.

Last night, I had a conversation with my friend who takes me deep-woods camping once a year over the 4th of July week. We go into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area where there are few people and no sounds of fireworks. I’m super motivated and excited each year and in my head, I’m a great remote camper. But, the reality is, that I am triggered a lot of the time because of what happened to me in my past. I can work through the triggers, and I absolutely love being in the outdoors, but the PTSD affects my experiences.

As we were talking last night, I asked if we could try a trip where we portage more than once and go deeper into the remote areas. He said, “there is no way we can do that!” He explained whenever we have tried going deeper into the woods I get really triggered. We went on to talk about the other ways my symptoms come out during the camping trips.

Last summer, on a camping trip to the mountains of Colorado, I developed altitude sickness and we had to get off the mountain. We were exhausted by the time we got down to a low enough altitude and we wound up throwing our sleeping bags next to a river and sleeping outside under the stars. Sounds beautiful, and it was. Except for all the flashbacks I was having. I didn’t know if it was because I was tired, crabby, and just wanted to be in a bed, or if it was because of my PTSD. My illness is not my automatic go-to for explanations on why I can’t do something. Part of the dance of acceptance!

I began to have an awareness that what I wanted to experience while taking these trips, was not happening in a positive way for me. I wasn’t saying anything out loud; instead, I was doing a lot of negative self-talk about bucking-up, figuring it out, and stop being such a baby.

It wasn’t until we were talking about it last night, that I really accepted that even with my limitations I can still have a wonderful experience camping. As long as I’m with someone who understands PTSD and how to react (or not react) when I get triggered I can still experience and recognize the fabulously healing reset of being in nature. I can also find meaningful ways to earn a bit of money (and I have) while being mindful and respectful of what is healthy for me.

I have some long-lasting effects from the trauma I endured. Because of the extent of my trauma, I have PTSD. Maybe this is not a forever illness, I don’t know what the future will hold. Most days, I’ve accepted that I’m still going to suffer from symptoms and live with some deficits.

When I lose sight of this, I find myself getting very angry at my PTSD.  When the anger and frustration well up, and starts to boil over, I make myself stop, sit down, reflect, rest, and try to focus on the goal of what I want for my life.

And I’m sure, as it seems it has become a pattern, that there will be times that I am going to do the slow dance of acceptance.

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photo: Alexis Rose

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

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41 thoughts on “The Dance of Acceptance

  1. You show lots of courage and character. I have by now used to the fact that most around me know I’ve got psychiatric troubles. Yet I feel shy of it in a public forum at times though the need to share overweighs. Anyways keep your lovely resilience up and live a beautiful life. We are all with you and you are there for those who love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you. I think having talked about it really helped. It takes from the inside just stewing around to giving it less power when I talk it through. Now I know the things I can do to make the experiences much better. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s such a shame that something you really enjoy and look forward to is also so incredibly triggering. It sounds like talking things through through the other night helped with a few realisations.. “when I get triggered I can still experience and recognize the fabulously healing reset of being in nature…while being mindful and respectful of what is healthy for me.” I hope you remember your own words here when you’re next triggered and for when you go camping because sometimes, when things get tough in whatever we’re dealing with, it’s hard to remember the realisations and positive thoughts we’d had before.Xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you. I remember from reading your first book that travel, especially on an airplane, would be very challenging for you.

    In fact, after I reblogged this, I was thinking “But I haven’t had the severely traumatic experiences around traveling by air, that Alexis has had.” And then I thought about some of the flights I have taken and why I took them. Oh yes. A funeral. A relocation after my dad was arrested for almost murdering my mother. The heartbreaking end of a relationship. And more. Plus I keep seeing in my mind the images of planes flying into tall towers. Although I don’t believe that those huge towers could have turned to dust from top to bottom just from being hit by a jet airplane. Nor do I understand how jets can fly through steel girders without their wings crumpling or snapping off.

    But still. Even with all the unanswered questions, those are such horrible images to have come to mind when I think of airplanes.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Linda, thank you so much for reblogging this. I can so relate to your anxiety with the travel. Traveling for me requires so much planning: how will I fly alone, navigate the strange places, crowds, being away from home, all the things you mentioned. It is amazing how we can handle some things with calm and then that PTSD kicks in and there is the reminder! It can be super frustrating sometimes. Keep breathing my friend. Sending you lots of love ❤️💐

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on A Blog About Healing From PTSD and commented:
    I am reblogging this post by Alexis Rose because I sooo understand this post. Although I have been amazed at how much improvement I’ve had since I underwent neurofeedback treatments in 2017, there are still certain kinds of triggers that can take me by surprise.

    Like when my husband surprised me last night with airline tickets he had purchased, so I can go to my granddaughter’s wedding in Connecticut in July. I want so much to be there at her wedding. And I’m super grateful that my husband cared enough to find a way to make it possible.

    But I have been dealing with the stress all day. I’m going to fly? All by myself? And be gone from home for four whole days? And then fly back? All by myself? Oooooh!

    We had a tornado warning a couple of nights ago. One of those “imminent extreme alert take shelter now” warnings. I was amazed at how calm I was. The very next day, a bomb cyclone came through with hurricane-force winds. Again, I was incredibly calm. Yaay, I thought, I don’t have PTSD anymore!

    Then I find out that I am flying to Connecticut in July. Four months from now. And I keep having to remind myself to breathe…

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Pingback: The Dance of Acceptance — Untangled – Living in Stigma

  8. I will definitely continue to dance with acceptance. 💕
    You know what ability I’ve gained from this? The ability to write. Seriously, I never wrote anything (besides signing my name in birthday cards) before I got sick. Definitely light from the darkness. 🤗

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Limitations can hurt, especially things you used to do, maybe even take for granted. May you continue dancing with acceptance.

    Are there any things you can do because you have PTSD that maybe you wouldn’t have been able to? Not saying you’re grateful for suffering per se. Just wondering if you’ve gained abilities, too? 💕❤️💕

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I suffer with anxiety & this post really rings home with me… I think it’s about funding a balance, to continue doing the things we love but understanding our limits… It’s good your friend understands you & your triggers… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you! ❤️ yes, I bet it is a lot like anxiety and fibro. Both to me, would be so frustrating especially when those flares happen. And I imagine the more a person fights against a flare up the worse the symptoms become. Have a wonderful weekend 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t help but feel it is similar to anxiety and fibromyalgia in that it flares up, has peaks and troughs and throws us when we ignore the small symptoms and warning signs. Beautifully told Alexis Rose. Xx

    Liked by 4 people

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